‘We shouldn’t be doing this. This is pointless bullshit! We shouldn’t be doing this!’ Was what AJ’s mind was screamed as the four faced a crowd of eager journalists and photographers.
They sat at a fold out table, and all he wanted was for this to be over. He knew they wouldn’t be at this for long, soon they would be drawn back home. In fact, it was taking too long as it was. So why bother with the minor things if they weren’t long for this dimension? Pointless. Although if the rebel had his way, they would proceed into doing it now rather than waiting for Nick to go first like before. It would take time anyway, since they had less in the circle, which meant less power than the last and only time they had tried it before. Instead they’re waiting for Nick, without a plan. Or so it looked to AJ.
Nick. That was another problem. After he awoke, something had changed, altered, shifted within the mind of the destined young one. A realization of the truth? The gift of purity as was his birthright? He wasn’t sure, but now Nick knew something. As a result of his last journey into their true home, Nick tapped into something, whether it be power or knowledge. That something was what shattered his psyche enough to go into isolation, they knew that much.
And where were they in this time of need, of obvious weakness? They were playing by this world’s rules and dealing with a petty press conference of all things. They sat there, looked united as a band could be, but the contrary was true. Divided was them at the moment. It unsettled them all. He took a long drag upon his cigarette before snuffing it out upon the table and ignored the dirty look from Kevin. No matter what the situation, he had control, Kevin. He always was the eldest. He was always the leader, and kept it all together. So why did it seem they were falling apart? AJ couldn’t say. He tapped his fingers upon the counter and appeared to be casually glancing upon his black painted nails as a sign of boredom. If they only knew.
“We gathered the press here to officially announce we’re cutting short the Millennium tour. We’re sorry to have to do so, but our band mate, our little bro, Nick Carter, isn’t up to the physical and mental stresses of touring right now because of his accident a month before. He’s still recovering. We apologize to the fans and hope they understand that we‘re like brothers, and so our well being comes first.” Came with a southern drawl as Kevin stood and spoke to the crowd before them.
“We promise to make it up to the cities we had to cancel upon during our next tour for our Black and Blue album.” Brian said. He was the one who had sided with AJ earlier when they had argued endlessly about their next move. Divided in two groups, had to now look solidified as one.
“We’re now ready to take any questions.” Howie followed; with a comforting smile that AJ knew couldn’t be more fake.
A young man in his mid twenties stood with his tape recorder ready to go. “Yes, we’ve heard Nick has put himself into voluntary isolation, is this true?”
Brows shot up with the four men. That was just bold. Brian stood before his protective cousin could answer. Kevin would eat the man alive and he knew it. “No…” he lied, knowing that although Nick wasn’t crazy, he was in isolation. “Nick is recovering in the privacy of his home, the way he SHOULD be.”
“How is he mentally? Has he begun to have outpatient rehabilitation?” AJ blinked. How crazy had the rumors gotten?
“Is this going to cause your disbandment?”
“Do you think NSYNC will take this chance to steal your success?”
“Is this the end of the Backstreet Boys?”
“Is Nick really in rehab? Was the coma a cover-up for other problems?”
“Why the secrecy?”
Brian was attacked with more and more outrageous questions. Unbelievable, the nerve of them. How crazy were the rumors going to get? Why bother? This was why he had sided with Alex. The entire deal was getting futile within the grand scheme of things. He was ready to walk out, giving them a very unchristian like hand gesture. Not that he believed in that deity anyway since he knew of his true self, but the vessel’s family had, his persona did. Before he could however, Kevin placed a hand upon his shoulder with a firm grip. A signal to keep control.
“Nick is fine; he is simply recovering from a lapse in his physical health. We are not breaking up, but we don’t wish to risk his well being by having him tour, so the Millennium tour has been cancelled. That is all. This conference is over. Thank you for your time.”
With that they left. They had more important issues to deal with. And as AJ would say, “screw them all”. Brian could care less. Nick needed them right now, and that was what mattered.
Nick wasn’t sure how to tell them. And by them, he meant the fellas, his brothers the world called the Backstreet Boys. He knew he should, but had no idea as to how. He felt insane. Knew he’d sound insane. He didn’t want to end up in some mental institution. He didn’t want psychological evaluations, or checks for possible brain damage. All could happen. Who would believe him? He knew how it sounded; trying to tell them his coma wasn’t really a coma. It somehow sent him to some other world, or dimension, or…something. Yet his body managed to stay here unconscious. And he held no proof it wasn’t a comatose induced dream, but knew it was. Yeah, he knew it’d never go over well with anyone.
It had been a month since he had awoken from the coma that changed his life forever. Because he knew it wasn’t a coma. Nick had no idea what to call it, but it wasn’t that. Suddenly Nick had been able to see things, feel things, and know things he hadn’t been able to before that concert that had in the end, sent him somehow to Fylgiar.
Fylgiar. That world had felt so natural to him. The twin suns above emitting the crimson light. The Victorian styled homes and the glowing pale green bits of pollen only found within bright leafed forests. Yet it felt different somehow. Darker. The forest green clouds. The once vibrant violent grasslands now deadened, and crunching beneath footsteps. And even despite that, all of it was just so vibrant, so real, and alive. It made the place he always knew as home look shadowed, shallow, and false.
And there had been Tawny. Their time together had been short, but he felt like he knew her somehow, reminded him of the bond he had with the fellas, yet differed. She shone, had a light he had never seen before. And then there was the way she had tried so hard to protect him. Why? What was so important about him? She would have given her life to save his, he knew that somehow. He knew she felt he was important enough to die for, and he couldn’t comprehend why that was. The look on her face as he had returned to this world, this reality, it had almost killed him. He wondered if she thought he was dead. Nick wondered why she felt so real, so connected to him, even now.
The tour had been cancelled indefinitely. Nick had just finished watching the affair on TV. Apologies had been sent out over the air waves. The others were speaking without him there. Refunds would be sent, promises to make it up for the next tour, for their next album came. The decision was made when Nick refused to leave his home. He wished not to see his parents. Nor his siblings. He saw beyond them, saw the deception but couldn’t understand it. The light that used to radiate from his hands, that same light he now saw in people. Well only in four. His band mates.
Everyone else, there was a murky haze surrounding it, a falseness. Everywhere it existed. To the point where Nick couldn’t stand it and isolated himself within his home. Managers decided to claim it as “aftereffects from the unfortunate concert incident, recovering from the trauma, or needing rest after such a thing as a coma to recuperate”. He honestly could care less what they told the public. He wasn’t touring. He didn’t want to go anywhere.
The only people he allowed within his home were the ones without the lies sewn within their souls. And there were only four he had seen as of yet who qualified. Howie, AJ, Kevin and Brian. How, he didn’t understand. They visited often to try and coax him back into the world. Nick had been shrugging it off, uncaring of what anyone would think. He only wanted to understand.
And he didn’t. He couldn’t now. All he wanted was to return. Fylgiar, now that place felt real, felt like it made sense, felt like home.
Thoughts were interrupted when a loud knock came from the door. He chose to ignore it. He did not care. His cell phone buzzed against his thigh. He sighed and checked it to see who was bothering his temporary peace from the chaotic world he could no longer comprehend. He sighed. It was Brian. Slowly he rose from his place upon the couch, walking to the door. His house wasn’t large by celebrity standards, if anything it was small. If one considered small to be a one story home with only 6 bedrooms surrounded with a tall security gate that only the fellas and family knew the code to. He wasn’t a fan of two story homes; too much could happen on the first floor if some rabid fan managed to sneak in or something. He opened the door and there Brian stood, surprisingly alone. He expected AJ, or possibly Kevin.
“Nick, we should talk…”
“Come on in.”
An awkward silence came between them for the first time since they met. They sat upon the same couch Nick was resting on earlier. There were no sounds around them except for the faint chirping of a small robin outside the window.
“Nick, you can’t keep hiding.”
A sigh came, and his eyes shifted away from his longtime friend. “I’m not hiding. You…you wouldn’t understand Bri.”
Brian’s hands gripped Nick’s shoulders gently, shifting him back towards him to get his attention. “Try me.”